The annual meeting had always been the same: stale donuts, terrible coffee, and someone constantly talking about this graph or that. Once, according to company lore, someone accidentally brought bagels, and while everyone was at least one degree away from any concrete confirmation, they all accepted it as gospel, because how wild is that? Bagels, man.
It was June, the month of graduations that didn’t happen in May, and everyone was, obviously, giddy. The meeting was the official launch of the latest “Grads and” campaign, held by those that ran it, and included all the hoopla one would imagine.
The Kind of Hoopla One Would Imagine
Together, the “Grads and” team would discuss cards, mugs, T-shirts and assorted knickknacks. This year, finally, there was a real buzz in the air, what with talk of a car magnet (which is like a sticker, but easier to remove) shaped like a mortarboard with the year written upon it in a variety of potential school color combinations. The inclusion of the year was important, so as to keep customers from using the magnet again at some point in the future. They needed to be convinced that the year made it a keepsake, and that subsequent graduations would require purchasing their own version of it. Business, as you may have guessed, can be pretty cutthroat sometimes.
In fact, this meeting was more intense than most, which really had nothing to do with the new car magnet, because everyone loved that idea, and everything to do with the elephant in the room*.
“Grads and” was lacking. It was the first half of a thought, missing the recently departed after. That afterthought had been “Dads,” added years ago to make graduation seem even more important, and also to “tie-in” the hot necktie market. There would be far fewer “tie-in” jokes this year, and everyone agreed the meeting was worse for it.
“Grads and Dads” had worked because it felt right, especially to the team. The catchy duo made for the holiday season of the summer (aside from the Fourth of July and sometimes Labor Day or Memorial Day, depending on your school calendar), and losing “Dads” left the “Grads and” people scrambling for a replacement.
Grads and Bads? No.
Grads and Sads? No.
Grads and Rads? Cool, but no.
Grads and Fads? No.
Grads and Mads? Seriously, do they even have straws left for grasping?
“Why?” was the question. “Why did ‘Dads’ leave ‘Grads and’ hanging?”
Why “Dads” Left “Grads and” Hanging
“Because,” said someone, “combining Grads and Dads was a bunch of crap. They each deserve their own holiday, and putting them together diminishes their respective importance.”
At that, they all nodded. Then someone started one of those slow claps that are so powerful that you may have peed a little.
The whole experience was pretty humbling. In fact, if felt more movement than moment, then the tears, the hugs.
“Hey,” said someone else. “We should totally go get bagels.” And then they did, because you only live once, people.
In closing, congrats to all the graduates. And, IN ADDITION TO BUT NOT AFFILIATED WITH a Happy Father’s Day to those who observe the holiday, which totally stands on its own.
* Not an actual elephant